The return of Will & Grace saw Channel 5 more than double its audience numbers for its slot when the hit US sitcom resumed after an 11-year break.
The first episode of the new series was watched by an average of 1.29 million viewers and had an audience share of 7.3%.
The 30-minute broadcast peaked with an audience of 1.41 million viewers.
The broadcaster said that the average overnight figure, which includes those watching on Channel 5 +1, represented an increase of 154.7% week-on-week in the 10pm timeslot.
The award-winning series, which has been praised for its open and light-hearted approach to sexuality and prejudice, sees stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes back together as a TV foursome.
McCormack and Messing play title characters Will Truman and Grace Adler, with Mullally as Karen Walker and Hayes as Jack McFarland.
Creator Max Mutchnick’s idea to bring the show back came after the cast reunited for a one-off topical clip during the US election campaign in November 2016.
The returning episode opened in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency and saw both Will and Grace unexpectedly invited to the White House.
Fans took to Twitter to share their delight that the programme had returned after more than a decade off the air.
One viewer said: “How even after all these years #WillAndGrace is still just as amazing.”
“The return of #WillAndGrace a triumph,” another said.
The return of #WillAndGrace a triumph. The secret of bringing back a successful show. Don't change the elements of what made it a successful show in the first place.— Chris Armstrong (@bantam79) January 6, 2018
“The secret of bringing back a successful show. Don’t change the elements of what made it a successful show in the first place.”
Just how good was the first episode of @WillAndGrace @channel5_tv The script was just genius and beyond funny. Good job @DebraMessing @MeganMullally @EricMcCormack @SeanHayes #MakeAmericaGayAgain #WillAndGrace #channel5— Szymon Świątek (@szymonswiatekk) January 6, 2018
One fan commented: “Just how good was the first episode of @WillAndGrace @channel5_tv The script was just genius and beyond funny. Good job.”
Several fans praised the programme for its political edge, although for some it laboured the point a bit too much.
One wrote: “In love with how much the show mocked Trump, this reunion is not disappointing #WillAndGrace #loveit.”
Similarly, another said: “Hahahaha. LOVING the Trump bashing on the new #WillAndGrace.”
So nothing has changed except for the trump references..still funny but could of moved on more #WillAndGrace— jrob9181🐶🐱🍺 (@jrob9181) January 5, 2018
“So nothing has changed except for the trump references… still funny but could of moved on more #WillAndGrace,” another viewer wrote.
One viewer remarked: “The writers and producers clearly not Trump supporters! This episode is unnecessarily political! I hope this theme is dropped or it will run the show #WillAndGrace.”
Will & Grace continues on Fridays at 10pm on the Channel 5.